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Self-Reflexivity and Art

Rumjana Pankova

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1. Reflection – operationalisation in art

As all psychic and socio-psychological processes, reflection finds its expression in some specific forms. In them it is not a vague philosophical category but begins to take the form of a specific model of creativity, in particular – a model of pictorial art.

The painting, created by the artist, is a reflection of reality, refracted through his consciousness, his subjective point of view, shown through the spatial composition, colors and graphics of the image. It is a subject of reflection like many other pieces of creative art. The separate elements of the picture are an object of reflection. Regarding the importance of visual perception pictorial art is the best example of reflection. It is the fullest and most various one. Such kind of perception fully embraces both the cognitive possibilities and the subconscious sphere. Unlike auditory, tactile and olfactory perception, visual perception is informative perception to the highest degree. Moreover, such kind of perception is spatial as well. It is an additional form of informational influence on the individual. A picture is a multi-aspect source of information, which allows transformation of the abstraction in the ‘language’ of specific shapes, colors and spatial objects.

2. Spatial disposition, framework, borders of plastic

Reflective perception and reflection is a phenomenon of the human consciousness and as such it follows the algorithm of these processes. The first and basic element of such processes is the element of detachment from the rest of space, separating the object from the psychological reaction of the rest of the world. When the subject is reflection in pictorial art, this detachment or separation is managed through the spatial disposition of the picture. It is perceived and respectively reflected where the artist sees its place. Seen from a different angle the picture would not have analogical impact on the consciousness of its observer and would not get the respective reflection in the consciousness of its creator. The artist gives his creation the general in space in the way he perceives it. This form of communication allows detachment of emotion, feeling, and inner perception from the abstract medium and its translation into the language of space. There is a reason why the disposition of the image allows conveying what could not be conveyed by verbal or abstract-logical means.

Detaching the object of pictorial art allows focusing observer’s (even the creator’s) attention on his creation. This is the ‘front door’ behind which is the topic of the piece of art. The psychological content of this ‘introduction’ is the focus on knowledge or self-knowledge. Without introducing such an element the piece of art is ‘risking’ merging with the environment, getting lost in the variety of impacts perceived by the individual.

The background, regardless of its particular expression, gives the opportunity to lessen the effect of the preciseness of the reflected.  Pictures, unlike other kinds of visual information (photos, films, graphics), create not so much ‘factology’ of the perceived, but rather communicate different kinds of feelings.

The introduction of the background as a basis of the image allows the artist to constantly analyze his own piece of art, to situate it in different environment, and to adapt it to different mood and context. If we agree with the definition of reflection given above, by the medium of the picture the reflective perception of the object of creation becomes possible.

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